10 Essentials for the Perfect NB Picnic
Newport Beach brings you up close and personal with beautiful ocean views and relaxing seaside excursions. Back Bay, Balboa Peninsula Park, and Castaway Park all have stunning sites and a calming Pacific backdrop for your picnic. If you are the outside nature type and don’t always want to dine indoors, here is a list of some places that offer grab and go treats, perfect for a picnic in the park or at the beach.
Remember when mom would pack you a sack lunch? It would have some leftovers, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some kind of salty cheesy chip. The A Market is the neighbor of A Restaurant on PCH, and offers you the same love that your mom used to make lunch, but adds true artisan flair. Shelly Register is a master of baking, and oversees A Market’s operations. Her pastries and cookies are some of the best in Orange County. Register’s spirit fills the store, and her smile helps ensure the beefed up sandwiches on the menu are perfect for any picnic. A Market has an incredible selection of craft colas, specialty cheeses and house-made salads. Bring “My Favorite” Sandwich across the bridge to the Balboa Peninsula and drool over the turkey, avocado, and ginger marmalade while strolling the boardwalk.
Big Belly Deli
Big Belly Deli is a local’s hideaway. It would be hard to mistake the unique window for anything else but a surf shack, though it’s become a quick eatery. Don’t be fooled by the sign for pizza, because the sandwiches are the true gold in this place. The Rajun Cajun is a popular choice, most likely because of the huge pieces of sausage and chicken and the melted cheese oozing from every order. You don’t even need to plan ahead too much for this picnic, since a prime beach destination is just steps away.
Bristol Farms is not your average grocery store as it has a vast collection of cheeses and meats, plus an olive bar, which are all perfect for those cheese and cracker sunsets on the beach. One of the most exciting features at this Bristol Farms location is the Poke Bar. Preparing a fresh seafood salad like these could take you hours, so why not just grab and go? Don’t be afraid to head next door and grab a Sprinkles cupcake on the way to your picnic.
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
If you are looking for an award winning sandwich experience, consider Capriotti’s, a Delaware creation that’s now in Newport Beach. This grab-and-go sandwich shop has become a household name coast-to-coast. Capriotti’s is special because of its overnight roasted turkeys that provide the delicate and juicy pulled turkey sandwiches that they have built their fame. The Bobbie is a trademarked sandwich that is all the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner stuffed into a sandwich. A Thanksgiving picnic on the beach, and not just on Thanksgiving? Now there is an idea.
Champagnes Bistro & Deli
If you find yourself taking the 73 freeway to reach your picnic destination, make a quick stop at Champagnes Bistro & Deli. This upscale food market and delicatessen has been a longstanding part of Newport Beach since 1989. Each sandwich is made with love, and their famous Pulled Pork Sandwich is a prime example. The pork is cooked till it is falling apart, tossed in barbecue sauce, and placed inside a toasted golden brown ciabatta roll with a six-vegetable slaw that adds both crunch and flavor.
The beach life is great, and is a huge part of what makes Newport Beach so spectacular is the greener side to its beauty. Fly by Gelson’s Market to pick up a full meal on your way to one of the four parks that surround the area. Gelson’s hot deli is famous for its carving station. Here you can get a cut of meat right off the fresh roast. Prime rib is a particularly strong hit.
Craving the creative? Chef Alan Jackson’s Fashion Island outpost meal is far from ordinary. Lemonade prides itself in international influences and fresh ingredients. The concept has a cafeteria-style setting, but all the items are available to pick up for your picnic. It is like walking into your high school lunch counter, but completely modernized and a menu that never ceases to excite. They have healthy and not so healthy options, all perfect for a picnic with friends. White Truffle Mac and Cheese, sandwiches and sides all scream to be eaten by the water.
Le Pain Quotidien
This Belgian bakery with a New York vibe from Chef Alain Coumont appears in Fashion Island as you ascend from the escalators to the Macy’s courtyard. It is like a vision of bread heaven. Le Pain Quotidien offers the freshest bread on the market, because their bakery is inside each shop. They even offer baking classes to learn how to make some of their tender and delicious gluten full creations. Grab a mixed berry tart, a coffee and enjoy the first few hours of the morning sun before taking a stroll on the beach.
This restaurant from “Top Chef” contestant Brian Huskey IS a picnic on the beach! Tackle Box provides picnic tables and an ocean view, and some of Newport Beach’s most creative open-air beachside fare. Pork Belly “bahn mi,” lobster in squid ink roll, and clam chowder chicharrones?! This place is taking seafood to the next level, and with an incredible beach side view. How can you go wrong?
Teatime picnic hasn’t really caught on yet, but Whole Foods Newport Beach might make it a “thing.” This Fashion Island outpost has a tea counter, with a unique variety of teas, some available on tap. This Whole Foods also offers one of the city’s most diverse selections of ready-made foods, so your picnic planning can be a breeze. Tacos? Pizza? Dumplings? Salads? Sushi? Name it and Whole Foods Newport has the answer. Grab your meal and find a fun tea and enjoy another gorgeous day on the waterfront.